The primary focus of my research is to determine the evolutionary relationships of the eukaryotes and the cellular and genomic innovations associated with the emergence and diversification of the eukaryotic cell. My research uses: 1) comparative genomics and phylogenetics to understand the evolution of the eukaryotes where genomic data is available and 2) environmental gene library experiments to fill gaps in our current understanding of eukaryotic diversity and the eukaryotic phylogeny, by investigating eukaryotic groups directly from the environment.
Our work includes comparative genomic and phylogenetic studies on the origin and evolution of eukaryotic organelles, the eukaryotic cytoskeleton and associated molecular motors. We use a combination of different approaches to reconstruct the eukaryotic phylogeny. We also study cases of horizontal gene transfer involving eukaryotic genomes. Finally, we are trying to sample genome sequences from novel, previously uncharacterized and unculturable eukaryotic microbial groups in order to improve our understanding of eukaryotic evolution.
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